1. The Body (Season 5, Episode 16) — Words by Beckie Grunewald
No Buffy list would be complete without The Body. How do you take a show known for its sardonic banter and turn it into a mess of death and grief? Whedon, who lost his own mother to an aneurism, handles this beautifully. In a series about vampires and otherworldly creatures, The Body stands out because there’s nothing otherworldly about it, with the exception of the vamp at the end. It is ultimately about human grief and the pain of losing someone, all while having to deal with the world going on around us.
Where The Body really shines, though, is not just the focus on the details of Joyce’s death. There’s flashes into the lives of the people around Buffy. Tara and Willow share their first kiss during this episode. Xander also searches for something – anything – to blame for Joyce’s death. Anya, newly human, is frustrated by her lack of understanding of death and the fact that “no one will explain to [her] why!” We’d like to know the answer to that question, too, Anya.